thank you

Thinking Through My Leadership Manifesto

by Nursetopia on April 16, 2014

I have the privilege of learning alongside some amazing nurses. Recently we briefly talked about how what we believe influences our leadership styles and, thus, everything we do. So, it’s important to really know what it is you believe in. It made me pause, and for the next several days I really thought about what I believe as an individual and leader – to be more aware.

I believe in the triune God and the God-breathed Word, which guides my life and work. My beliefs may be divergent from others’, which should not change the way I provide care. Yet, my work and actions should be different in many ways, reflecting foundational Christian principles that undergird my life.

I believe as a leader, I am the ultimate example for my team. I must role model the way.

I believe that in healthcare, everything comes down to and revolves around people. Every. Thing. I must remember that with each decision.

I believe frontline team members are the largest source of solutions to current problems.

I believe professionals are adults and should be treated as such.

I believe that while difficult to develop and maintain, diversity is vital to the health of a team, an organization, and the final service or product.

I believe failure is not final; it should be celebrated and learned from rather than feared and avoided.

I believe the majority of people want control over their work, clear expectations, and room to autonomously shake the world.

I believe I must give the same opportunities and lessons to those around me that others have graciously and generously given me.

I believe thank you’s never get old and cannot be said enough.

I believe curiosity and inquiry are welcome aspects to any organization.

I believe the work environment should be so amazing that people are banging down the doors and waiting on lists for the opportunity to join the team.

I believe continuous learning is a requirement, not an option.

I believe collaboration is worth the effort.

Beliefs can change over time, a member of the group pointed out. She’s right. What do you deeply believe that influences each aspect of your work?


Dansko is at it again…recognizing and celebrating the most fabulous group of healthcare professionals – nurses, of course! Okay, I might be a tad biased. Maybe. But you can’t deny that Dansko loves, loves, loves nurses! And who’s to blame them? No one here!

Dansko is giving away a pair of their amazing shoes and a fabulous Nurses Week lunch to you and nine of your closest nurse friends. That is, if you’re one of the five randomly selected winners. That means you have to enter, though, by April 28th. Simply tell them why you celebrate Nurses Week, and you’re in the drawing! How easy is that? And oh my goodness…what nurse friend wouldn’t offer to help with your next admit/discharge/enema/[insert your least-favorite nursing care piece here] when he or she realizes you’re treating him/her to new Dansko shoes and lunch?! Oh yeah; you’ll be that nurse during Nurses Week.

So, get after it; enter the Dansko Nurses Week Giveaway, and start the celebration early! Thanks, Dansko, for always celebrating Nurses! 

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Never heard of a Certified Cancer (or Tumor) Registrar? You’re not alone. Even people within the oncology world often do not know about these amazing team members. The reason? They work behind the scenes and do so much background work that they make the Invisible Woman look like Captain Obvious.

Ever wondered how we get our cancer statistics like incidence, prevalence, mortality, and survival rates? That’s all because Tumor Registrars abstract data from individual patient charts over the course of a cancer patient’s lifetime. Curious how providers know whether or not specific treatment regimens make a difference in patient outcomes over time? Yep, that’s a Tumor Registrar’s work, too. Inquired whether there are certain clusters of cancers in specific locations that may be tied to environment, diet, etc. Oh, yes…thank a Tumor Registrar for those nuggets of info, also.

Cancer Registries are incredible sources of data; they are absolutely vital to our patient care, our healthcare system, and to public health. If I need data as an oncology administrator, the Cancer Registry (my local, state, and national ones) are the very first places I look to for help. These professionals are that amazing.

On top of all of that work, Cancer Registries are often the departments that help coordinate tumor boards as well as American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditation pieces.

Do you know your Certified Cancer Registrars and Cancer Registry team? If not, you need to meet them. Today. And thank them while you’re at it.

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Voluminous Volunteer Thanks

by Nursetopia on April 10, 2014

This is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. What. A. Week!

I’ve previously expressed what an amazingly untapped volunteer resource nursing is in general, but this week I haven’t focused on nursing volunteers; I’ve had my eyes and thoughts fixed on all the amazing volunteers who help within healthcare settings. They volunteer for all sorts of reasons and for varying time frames and in myriad locations. A lot of the times healthcare volunteers end up donating more than time because they see the needs and know how financial donations make a difference to patients and team members.

What I appreciate is that healthcare volunteers take their skills and put them to use in many settings. Some sit at the bedside of dying patients; some organize meeting notes and files; some prep certain aspects of patient care; some fill areas with music; some teach; some clean; some cook.

All care.

Have you thanked a volunteer this week?


Love on the Certified Nurses Near You

by Nursetopia on March 18, 2014

Tomorrow – March, 19, 2014, is Certified Nurses Day. Hooray!! 

CertifiedNursesDayNew readers, consider this your orientation to Certified Nurses Day, but all the Nursetopia faithfuls should know this date (March 19th) by now. It’s time to cel-uhhh-braaa-aate! Why? Because this day highlights nurses who’ve gone above and beyond to obtain certification in addition to all of their education and licenses, indicating quality patient care and nursing professionalism.

Now, if this quick-evening-before post is any indication of how prepared you think I am to celebrate the certified nurses around me, you’re wrong. Okay, not completely wrong. Okay, so I’m preparing the night before, yes, but don’t think I haven’t thought about this special day for several weeks. Because I totally have. 

I chose to purchase a gift for the nurses around me rather than make one like previously. And, I didn’t even make my own card this year because the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) did such an awesome job of developing all the materials for me. Seriously, kudos, ANCC, ’cause it’s all super cute. They’re feminine, for sure, so I’m not sure how our guy colleagues will receive them, but they work for my all-lady certified nurse team. I’m plastering their work areas with the posters, adding my sentimental thanks to the letterhead and cards, and emailing the pre-crafted design to my team and executive leaders, highlighting the certified nurses.

It’s. Going. To. Be. Awesome. Because certified nurses are awesome. 




by Nursetopia on September 11, 2013

I remember.           I remember.

09.11.2001.             09.11.2001

Four planes.          Four planes.

2,977 victims.       2,977 victims.

I remember.          I remember.


Film Features Real Nurses and Their Stories

by Nursetopia on May 13, 2013

I love seeing real nurses in pictures and films. I’ve had enough of the well-groomed-young-nurse-hugging-my-clipboard photos. Show me some real nurses. Here’s a few projects that do just that:

  • Joy Williams, RN, from Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses her work and love for Project HOPE in this short film.
  • Photographic film captures the essence of nurses and their work in The American Nurse Projecta “photojournalistic journey that aims to capture and share the images and stories of nurses from all across America and to celebrate the role of the nurse in this country’s healthcare system.” The creators chose six nurses to feature in a full-length documentary, and simply based on the nurses’ brief bios, this is going to be an amazing film when it debuts in Fall 2013.
  • NURSES, If Florence Could See Us Now is a documentary celebrating the work of nurses. As the film trailer points out, most people have a hard time explaining what exactly a nurse does, but rather explain nursing through how nurses make them feel. That’s powerful stuff.
  • The Truth About Nursing has a list of nursing-related documentaries, along with “nursing” and “artistic” ratings.
  • Nurses is a four-part documentary of Australian nurses. It was actually planned and filmed by nurses.
  • A quick search on YouTube reveals over 53,000 results. Looking through the first seven pages of results, at least, there are definitely gobs of short films on real nurses and their work. I love that. After page seven, the results get a little sketchier, so you might have to refine your search criteria to get real nurses who aren’t wearing – ahem – “unapproved” scrubs.

Are there any other photographic or film pieces capturing real nurses that inspire you?


My children teach me so much. Sometimes it’s even about the nursing profession. But, medicine has no power like motherhood. And, nursing knows no care like a mother’s.

Kisses so potent they heal. Hands so tender they regenerate confidence. A voice so familiar it melts fear. Saliva so amazing it cleans faces, disinfects dropped pacifiers, and tames wild hairs; it’s pharmaceutical grade, People. Skin so soft and strong it withstands hours of holding 30 pounds of fever that wants nothing more than constant cuddling. Ears so sensitive they can pick out my crying child among 20 others. A nose so sensitive, it remembers the day-one baby pheromones for each of my three children – divinely created just for me.  [Inhales]

Yes, this day is special. Very, very special. Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends, many who are working around the world today, caring for someone else’s mother or daughter. Hmmm…on second thought, maybe nursing care does, indeed, rival moms’ care.

Differentiating care is like splitting hairs, as my mom would say. Funny thing, she was also a nurse. Happy Mother’s Day, All!

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Transcending Trinkets

by Nursetopia on May 7, 2013

I realize many nurses opine about Nurses Week as if administrators are forcing hospital cafeteria cookies down their throats while simultaneously stuffing their scrub pockets with cheap pens and angel figurines (adorned with an iconic nurse’s cap, of course).

Nurses Week is actually much more than all of that surface-level stuff, though. Personally, I have the opportunity to shower some extra love on the nurses in my life – the family members, the friends, the coworkers who are a part of my nursing career. We have a bond that ties us. Don’t get me wrong, that bond can be ugly and frayed; it’s by no means perfect. But it’s ours – the sweet moments of care, the horrific shifts, the mundane moments – and I get to highlight it.

I get to say via word and deed, “I know how hard your life’s work is because I do it, too, and you rock it; you own it; this week is about you because you are seriously that amazing.”

Funny thing is, the more I focus on and build up the nurses around me, the higher I go, as well. I think the more I write, the more written words mean to me. I sat at my desk yesterday morning, reading words from a friend and nurse colleague that brought me to tears.

No administrator has ever given me such a gift as the sincere and secretive thanks of a nurse colleague, nor could I ever expect him or her to be able to. No, the best person to take care of a nurse during Nurses Week is a nurse. That transcends trinkets.


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You RAWK [Free, Printable Card]

by Nursetopia on May 2, 2013

“You rock!” is a favorite phrase of mine. It’s my kudos sentence of choice, and it’s usually accompanied by a high five, a dance of some sort, or lots of finger pointing. It’s only natural to incorporate it into a postcard that’s perfect for Nurses Week or any other celebratory moment. Download it, print it, give it!


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